Sphingidae: Sphinginae

1973 (ABH69.005) Death's-head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos, (Linnaeus, 1758)

KR06830

 Photo © Val Perrin
Death's-head Hawk-moth
 Photo © Val Perrin
 pre-1981
 1981-1999
 2000-2009
 2010-onwards


General Information

This species has an unmistakable skull-like marking on its thorax. When disturbed it can make a squeaking sound by passing air over a reed like structure in its proboscis. Larvae are occasionally found in organic potato crops.

 

Pupates underground.

 

Folklore regards this moth as an omen of death. In Greek mythology, Atropos, one of the three daughters of Necessity, cuts the thread of life.

Overwinters as Doesn't overwinter in the UK.
Both sexes come to light.

Forewing length: 52-60mm.
Foodplant(s): Potato (Solanum tuberosum), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
Flying: One generation, late August-late October (sometimes May-late November)
UK Presence: Immigrant
National status: Uncommon/Rare

Habitat

Gardens and allotments amongst potato crops.

Regional Information

Recorded in 16 (5.9%) of the 270 2km squares of Huntingdonshire.

Last recorded in September 2009

Recorded date range (Adult): 18 September to 21 October

Recorded date range (Larva/Leafmine): 12 September to 24 September

Recorded date range (Pupa): 14 November to 14 November


Uncommon/Rare
Larva/Leafmine:
Larva Type:
With lumps, bumps or horn(s)
Colours:
Yellow, green, brown, purple, grey, white
No. of Proleg Pairs:
5